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Not the expected answer

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

March 8, 2023

I’m 99.9 percent positive it wasn’t the answer she was expecting.

When you work for the Catholic Church or talk regularly about your faith, people start asking you their questions about Catholicism, Christianity and/or organized religion. It used to make me uncomfortable, and I constantly feared saying the wrong thing or answering the wrong way.

After a handful of years of this, though, I’m pretty used to it now. While I still worry about saying the right thing, I try hard to leave that to the Holy Spirit and hope for the best.

So, it didn’t bother me when, in the context of another conversation, an acquaintance asked if I considered it hypocritical that so many people “attend church on Sunday and sin on Monday.”

My acquaintance wasn’t the first person to ask me that question. I’ve been asked that question at least a handful of times. Normally, I answer with a sort of standard response I’ve developed about “failing to meet the mark.”

This time, before I had time to even think it through, my mouth answered:

“You know people who make it to Monday? I’m lucky if I make it out of the church parking lot before I’m thinking some mean thought or gossiping or doing something I shouldn’t do. We don’t all pile into a church because we think we’re awesome and we want to show the world how holy we are. I’m there because I’m a sinner. I’m there because I need a savior.”

While I think my acquaintance appreciated the response, I think the Holy Spirit wanted me to get that message, too.

I have a bad habit of falling into self-reliance as I try to overcome my sinfulness and the lesser parts of my personality. I have a habit of thinking I can fix myself if I just work hard enough.

“I’m there because I need a savior.”

The reality is that if I could fix myself, I would’ve done it by now. Sadly, I’m still a sinner and I’m still flawed.

It’s appropriate that I was given this reminder just as Lent was starting. What better time is there to try to focus on opening my heart and allowing Jesus to work on sinful nature, bad habits and flaws?

And it wasn’t the answer I was expecting.

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